The exact year that Cowdenbeath Football Club was established is unclear. The current club had its genesis in the union of two local clubs (Cowdenbeath Rangers and Cowdenbeath Thistle), which took place in 1881. It has been suggested by the club’s historian, David Allan, that the club retained the name ‘Cowdenbeath Rangers’ until 1882, when the club merged with a Raith Rovers FC (not to be confused with the current Raith Rovers). What is known with certainty is that the current club has been playing as Cowdenbeath FC since at least 1882.
Regardless of whether they were established in 1881 or 1882, Cowden is the oldest of the four surviving professional football clubs in Fife (which includes the aforementioned Raith Rovers, established in 1883, Dunfermline Athletic, established in 1885 and East Fife, established in 1903).
Cowden competed in the Fifeshire Football Association from its inaugural season in 1882/83, losing that first Fife Cup 4-1 to the original Dunfermline Football Club. Two years later, against the same Dunfermline, the club would win the first of its 25 Fife Cups with a scoreline of 4-0.
In 1905, Cowden were admitted into the Scottish Football League and, despite having not won any major honours, competed in Scottish league football until the end of the 2021/22 season. Cowden ended up at the bottom of the League Two table and lost their place to Bonnyrigg Rose over two legs. As a result, the clab was relegated to the Scottish Lowland League for the 2022/23 season.
The Cowdenbeath kit did not feature a badge until the 1984/85 season. This badge was based on a design that had been used in the club’s programmes since 1970. The current badge is a variation of this 1984 badge, with the notable addition of a winding wheel, pickaxes and shovels, which call back to the mining history of the town.
The aim for my badge redesign was to create something simple, clear and significant. I omitted the shield entirely, incorporating the badge within a roundel. I did away with the stereotypical Scottish symbolism of the thistles and lion rampant, as well as the two crosses (symbols which I believe may be associated with the club’s ancestors, Cowdenbeath Rangers, Cowdenbeath Thistle and the original Raith Rovers), the meanings of which seem to have been obscured over time.
At the centre of my redesigned badge are a crossed hammer and pickaxe, which reference the town’s mining history. A football is superimposed over these symbols and below is found a banner bearing the Cowdenbeath town motto, Stent nae stent (Scots for ‘Effort always effort’, the term ‘stent’ having a particular association with mining shifts). For the colours, I opted for a light blue and gold, which stands out from the blue of the traditional Cowdenbeath home shirt.
The home kit design was inspired primarily by the 1974/75 and 1981/82 home kits. The away kit—as a play on the club’s enigmatic nickname, ‘the Blue Brazil’—is based on Brazil kits from 1954 onward, as well as several historical Cowdenbeath away kits.
As ever, I am indebted to Dave at Historical Football Kits for some of the historical information used above.